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USAFA General: Diversity Makes US 'Lethal on the Battlefield'

Image: USAFA General: Diversity Makes US 'Lethal on the Battlefield'
(Mike Kaplan/United States Air Force)

By    |   Friday, 29 September 2017 04:35 PM

The superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy said Friday that diversity is important to help the United States be "lethal on the battlefield" after racial slurs were found outside the dormitory rooms of five African-American students at the academy's prep school.

"Ultimately, these men and women are going to be lieutenants in the United States Air Force," Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria told Brooke Baldwin on CNN. "They're going to be producing combat capability and making us lethal on the battlefield.

"We need those diverse ideas," he said. "That's the message I wanted them to hear."

In a strong speech to the academy's 4,000 cadets Thursday, Silveria warned: "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out."

His words came after the slurs were discovered Tuesday on the message boards on the doors of the five black students at the prep school.

The school has a 10-month program for potential cadets who applied for the four-year academic and military program at the academy but were not accepted.

The goal is to help them meet academy requirements.

The school usually accepts about 240 students. Silveria's teaching and administrative staff totals about 1,500.

Air Force security personnel are investigating — and Silveria said he had talked with the families of the students affected.

"I wanted to have a direct conversation with them about the power of diversity," he told Baldwin of his speech.

"We take opportunities like this to teach the cadets and to develop them and to show them what they should be doing, what they should be discussing, and how important our values are to us as an Air Force."

Silveria, who took command of the school in August, told Baldwin that the incident should not discourage potential future applicants.

"That incident does not in any way represent the values what we represent," he said. "We represent core values of integrity and service and excellence in the Air Force.

"I wanted to make that clear to the cadets."

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The superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy said Friday that diversity is important to help the United States be "lethal on the battlefield" after racial slurs were found outside the dormitory rooms of five African-American students at the academy's prep...
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Friday, 29 September 2017 04:35 PM
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